Knowledge Management (KM) for a Changing World: Challenges for Third Generation Knowledge Practice

By Jane McKenzie and Christine van Winkelen.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Knowledge management is expected to deliver value by co-ordinating intangibles. Practice evolves as perceptions change about which priorities for managing knowledge contribute added value. First generation KM, strongly influenced by the metaphors of the industrial economy, prioritised knowledge capture, managing knowledge as an object or an asset; a sort of inventory which an organisation could accumulate and own. Then KM was a tool for constructing the knowledge base of operations. Second generation KM prioritised knowledge flows, and knowing and sharing became a business capability with KM as the method for channelling knowledge resources to create more competitive power. What are the priorities of a third generation of knowledge practice that will enable organisations to thrive in a global multi-stakeholder environment? The dynamics of interconnected world economies driven by substantial intangible rather than tangible sources or wealth create a different set of organisational priorities. The management challenges of co-ordinating what Carillo (2006) has called a Value Universe are substantially different. They demand a greater focus of attention on context, culture, and knowledge worker engagement driven by contradictory priorities in the way we relate across time and space. Based on 2 years of research in the Henley KM Forum, this paper explores the challenges of the next generation of knowledge management and suggests how organisational development and HR strategy may need to change in order to develop knowledge professionals able to cope with the uncertainty, ambiguity and contradiction associated with trans-national complexity. CARILLO, F. J. (2006) Knowledge Cities, Approaches, Experiences and Perspectives Burlington MA, Butterworth Heinemann.

Keywords: Knowledge Sharing, Future Scenarios, Knowledge Economy, Power, Time, Space

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 907.633KB).

Prof. Jane McKenzie

Professor of Management Knowledge and Learning, School of Management Knowledge and Learning, Henley Business School, Henley on Thames, UK

Jane is a Professor of Management and Learning at Henley Business School. In her career, she has been active in both business and academia. The first 15 years of her working life were spent in various financial controller roles, primarily in the chemicals and biotech industries. During this time she qualified as an accountant and completed an MBA. Her focus changed to managing more intangible resources when she moved to the USA. Here she spent five years in consulting, writing and researching issues such as IT benefits management, strategy, business transformation and the virtual organization. On her return to the UK in 1997, she joined Henley, where she spends the majority of her time looking for ways to improve the contribution of knowledge and learning to management development and business value. Currently she is Director of School and Director of Funded Research Projects. Her research interests focus on the connection between knowledge, learning and organizational value and the dilemmas managers face when making choices in today’s complex business environment. She has written two books, the most recent called Understanding the Knowledgeable Organization was co-authored with Christine van Winkelen, the director of Henley’s KM Forum.

Dr. Christine van Winkelen

Director of the Henley KM Forum, School of Management Knowledge and Learning, Henley Business School, Henley on Thames, UK

Christine has worked with Henley Knowledge Management Forum since its inception in 2000, project managing and directing research activities and special interest groups. In January 2004 she became Director of the Knowledge Management Forum. She is actively involved in a number of KM-related research projects at Henley Business School. Her particular research interests include the leadership and decision-making aspects of knowledge management. Her focus is on forming a “bridge” between academic and practitioner aspects of knowledge management. She has published extensively in academic and practitioner journals, co-authoring Understanding the Knowledgeable Organization: Nurturing Knowledge Competence with Professor Jane McKenzie, published by Thomson Learning in 2004. As a freelance academic and writer, Christine also tutors strategy, knowledge management and people management courses on MBA programmes at three UK business schools. Previously, she spent fifteen years working in high technology multi-national companies in a variety of product management, human resources management and scientific research capacities

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